Daystarter: Jane Castor leads in Tampa mayoral race; highlights from President Trump's State of the Union; see what freebies the Rays will give out in 2019

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.
Published February 6
Updated February 6

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.

• Watch out for patchy fog in the morning, but then it’ll be sunny and clear with highs in the 80s, according to the National Weather Service. The lows will be in the upper 50s. Expect warm afternoons and cool nights for the rest of the week.

• Here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay including Tyler Perry bringing his most beloved character, the curmudgeonly Madea, to a Tampa stage for ‘Madea’s Farewell Play.’ Also, singer Alan Doyle is in town and the Florida Orchestra has a coffee concert with free doughnuts.

• From our food editor: 5 ideas for romantic dishes to make for Valentine’s Day.

• President Donald J. Trump delivered his second State of the Union Address last night amid a divided congress and threats of a second government shutdown. The President used the speech to call for bipartisanship, a hard line on immigration and end to investigations into his 2016 campaign saying, "If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation." Watch the whole speech and read through a transcript here.

• Florida’s economic indicators have been headed the right way for several years. But a new report from the United Way reveals that the Florida families have been left behind by the economic rebound. Christopher O’Donnell explains how bad things are at tampabay.com.

• The first public polling in months shows former Tampa police chief Jane Castor with a commanding lead in the race to replace term-limited Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Charlie Frago reports on what the results of St. Pete Polls’ query of 429 registered Tampa voters reveals about the mayor’s race and how far ahead she is of her rivals.

•Nearly a year after a similar incident killed a man in St. Petersburg, a 24-year-old Fort Worth man died last month after his vape pen exploded in his face.

• For the latest in Florida politics, make sure to check The Buzz.

• Central Command’s top leader, Army Gen. Joseph Votel, faced questions at a U.S. Senate hearing about America’s support for the controversial Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen. But as Howard Altman notes, there has never been much clarity as to what role the air crews and aircraft of MacDill Air Force Base have played in that conflict.

• Changing gender identity through a process known as “conversion therapy” has been deemed ineffective among mental health experts and broadly derided for techniques that can include electric shock. But last week a federal judge ruled that the city of Tampa must allow some parts of the therapy to continue despite a 2017 city ordinance banning it. Paul Guzzo explains what it means.

• A pretty good measure of public officials is how willing they are to let the actual public see the nuts and bolts of how they do their job. So what does it mean that the St. Petersburg Housing Authority wants to charge one of its own commissioners to look at its own public records? Columnist Sue Carlton explains why that is a very bad idea at tampabay.com.

• Speaking of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority, Chris O’Donnell reports that the board member being charged for her own agency’s records, Terri Lipsey Scott, will get them anyway. That’s because City Council chair Charlie Gerdes wrote out a personal check of more than $900 to cover the cost of the public records requests.

• Marlene Sokol reports on an effort to station crossing guards at each of Hillsborough County’s 43 middle schools. Find out how the county wants to partner with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to see what they can do together.

• For the latest education coverage, make sure to read The Gradebook. And check out the Gradebook podcast as education reporter Jeffrey Solochek leads a weekly discussion about Florida education.

• Check out the Times online Business page for the latest on the economy, jobs, real estate, retail and workplace culture.

Read the Tampa Bay Times online Sports pageto catch up on all the recruiting information on the original “National Signing Day.” We’ll have staff reports from the University of South Florida, University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of Miami.

•A fanny pack, a short-sleeved hoodie and a “Cy-Zilla?” The Rays released their 2019 promotional campaign schedule and the freebies include some unique and comical items. For that story and all the latest Rays news, including outfielder Tommy Pham winning his arbitration hearing, click here and follow baseball writer Marc Topkin on @Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

• The Lightning fell to the Las Vegas Golden Knights last night in their second overtime performance in three games. Beat writer Diana C. Nearhos catches you up on how the team played and the latest news regarding Brayden Point’s return.

• Get the latest sports news, reaction and analysis from Times sportswriter Rick Stroud and the rest of the crew on the Bucs, Bulls, Lightning, Gators, ‘Noles and Rays via our Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast.

• The Times online Arts and Entertainment page tells you everything you need to know about what to do, see, eat and experience around town.

• Listen to our new podcast, Life of the Party, so Stephanie Hayes and Brittany Volk can brief you on latest celebrity news, entertainment headlines, gossip and other weird stuff and help make you far more interesting than anyone has the right to be.

• Daddy Kool Records might be leaving. But live music is back on the horizon on the 600 block in downtown St. Petersburg. After months of renovations, the State Theatre has officially booked its first concert since June: Long Beach Dub All-Stars, the Aggrolites and Mike Pinto on July 18.

• Don’t just write the right way — write the Lane way. Keep up with Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Lane DeGregory’s podcast, WriteLane, and learn about her approach to the craft of storytelling.

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